Icons understand the power of telling their story. They craft their legend through reciting the details of their journey. They give shape to their lives through recounting hardships and triumphs. And few icons have harnessed the power of myth-making quite like RuPaul.

“Supermodel (You Better Work)”, the hit song that introduced the world to RuPaul, tells the fable of a “little black girl from the Brewster projects,” who is discovered at 15 by a modelling scout and then leads a glamorous life of fashion shoots, replete with big hair, sophisticated outfits, and over-the-top costume jewellery.

While the Brewster-Douglass housing projects are real – the largest in Detroit before being demolished in 2014 – RuPaul did not grow up there. (It was, however, the home of Motown legends Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard.) Instead, RuPaul grew up in San Diego before moving to Atlanta with a story every bit as interesting as the one in “Supermodel.”

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